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SUSI College Grant – a quick guide

By March 25, 2024April 4th, 2024No Comments

Student Grant Scheme (SUSI) is the main college grant available to students going to college. This post gives basic information – More information on SUSI and Other financial supports for college students

If you have any questions about applying for a grant or other financial support to go to college, you can chat online to a trained Youth Information Officer or leave us a message and we can get back to you.

Who can get a SUSI grant?

To be eligible for a SUSI grant, you need to meet certain criteria:

  • Nationality
  • Residency
  • Previous education and progression
  • An approved course in an approved institution (college)
  • Income Limit – household income must be below a certain threshold (means-tested – see below)

The eligibility indicator on the SUSI website is a great tool to check if you are eligible.

When and how to apply for SUSI grants

  • Applications open in April. Priority closing date – usually end of July – you can still apply after this date but won’t get priority.
  • Apply early to have a better chance of having the funding secured before starting college.
  • Apply online through www.susi.ie.
  • Register online first and then complete the online application form..
  • You will need your Personal Public Service Number (PPS Number), an email address  and phone number to apply.

How does the Means Test work?

  • Income must be below a certain amount (income threshold).
  • If you  are a Dependent Student; you and your parents/guardians income is assessed together:
    • ie if you were under 23 on 1 Jan of the year you first start college
    • ie if you were 23 or over on 1 January  of the year when you first enter/re-enter college and living with your parents/guardian from Oct. 1 of the year before you start college.
  • The income limit is based on Jan – Dec 2023.  If there has been a change of circumstances (which is likely to be permanent)  this will be taken into account.
  • Income taken into account includes wages, social welfare payment, maintenance.
  • Income not taken into account includes child benefit, fuel allowance.
  • In certain circumstances, the income of your parents/guardian may not be taken into account. More information.

I think we are over the income limit for the full grant?

Several changes have been made to the Student Grant Scheme so you may qualify for part of the grant.

  • Income limit can be increased e.g. if more than one person is going to college or the number of dependent children.
  • Some income is not taken into account e.g. Holiday Earnings:   If you have a part-time job, your holiday earnings (e.g summer months/ Christmas) may be deducted from the total income coming into the house – up to €6,552 approx. currently.
  • The income threshold for the 50% student contribution grant has increased from €55,240 to €62,000 per year
  • The student contribution has been reduced by €500 for families earning between €62,000 and €100,000.
  • More than one going to college: If more than one person is going to college then the income limit will be increased to take this into consideration.

More information

Can I apply without my parents’ income?

If you are under 23 on 1 January of the year you first start college, you are automatically classed as a Dependent Student; and you and your parents income are take in to account

Except in certain circumstances:

  • Divorced/ Separated parent: the income of the parent you normally reside with will be taken into consideration when assessing you for grant purposes. You will, however, be required, if requested to provide documentary evidence of your parents’ separation/divorce.
  • Estranged from your parents: If you are irreconcilably estranged from your parents, you should still apply as a dependent student but select ‘Estranged’ in the ‘Other Parties to Application’ section of the application form. You need to prove this – e.g. Social Worker report.
  • Foster parents: If you are in foster care you should apply as a dependent with your foster parent(s)’ details (names, addresses etc.). Their income will not be taken into consideration in assessing for grant purposes.
  • Unaccompanied minor refugee: If you are under 23 and here as a refugee in your own right, you do not need to supply parents’ details when applying.
  • Orphan: If neither of your parents are living, and you do not have a court-appointed legal guardian, you should apply as a dependent student and tick ‘deceased’ for each parent.

How much do I get?

The amount you get generally depends on how much you and your parents’ earn and the distance between your home (normal residence) and the college.

Maintenance (help towards living costs)

If you live near the college and are entitled to the full maintenance grant, you will receive approx. €195 (approx.) per month for 9 months (academic year). 

You will receive more if the college is further than 30 km from your home (normal residence)

Fees

There is also a Fee Grant which covers all or part of the €3,000 (reduced to €2,000 for 23/24)  Student Contribution and the cost of essential field trips. This is paid directly to the University/ Institute of Technology (depending on your entitlement)

In response to the cost of living crisis, all fees, excluding a nominal registration fee of no more than €50 will be waived for most Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses in Colleges of Further Education for 2023/24.

If you have qualified for a maintenance grant, you usually qualify for the fee grant or partial fee grant depending on your income.

Special Rate

If your income is below €26,200 (can be more if you have more than 4 dependent children) & you’re in receipt of an approved social welfare payment, you may receive an additional payment of €155 approx. which works out as a total of €358 approx per month for 9 months (academic year).

You will receive more if the college is further than 30 km from your home (normal residence).

SUSI will give this to you automatically, if you are eligible – you do not have to apply separately.

Tips for easy application!

  • Just start!
  • You can save your application as you go along – so you don’t have to complete it all at once.
  • You do not need to have finalised your choice of course or college to start your SUSI grant.
  • Apply Early so that your application is approved before you start college.
  • Anyone applying for a course through the CAO can give the CAO permission to share their details with Susi, which smooths the payment process. It doesn’t matter if a student subsequently changes their mind about their course choices; the system allows Susi to follow the applicant to whatever course they accept.
  • Your application (W) number should be included with all documentation.
  • Send documents (all together preferably) as soon as possible but before the deadline date on the request letter.
  • You need to keeping checking your emails and act on any requests for further information from SUSI.
  • If you make a mistake and want to change it on your form – don’t panic – you can email SUSI giving them a contact phone number and your application reference.

What happens next?

  • Once you press submit, a few weeks later you will get a letter from SUSI as described in the video – keep an eye out!
  • Send documents back in the envelope provided before deadline
  • When you have decided which course you want to do (usually late Aug/ early Sept), you need to complete your Final Course Acceptance (FCA) On-Line.
  • Fill In your Bank Details – Your grant will be awarded  and payment will be made on a monthly basis directly into your bank account.
  • Students applying to SUSI will be paid on a monthly basis (nine instalments) into their own bank account. The student contribution element of the fee grant will be paid directly to the college on your behalf.

Appealing your grant decision

If you are turned down for the SUSI grant – and you feel you want to appeal the decision, then you go through the APPEALS process – we can help with this.

More Information

SUSI Support Desk – Phone: 0818 888 777 or Email: support@susi.ie

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